Forgive Us, We Don’t Know What We Are Doing (or we would stop) | Terri Broome

Forgive Us, We Don't Know What We Are Doing (or we would stop)

By Terri Broome

God has taught me something so powerful over the last few weeks and I want to share it with everyone. 

It has to do with Jesus as He was dying on the cross. Every recorded word from that precious mouth is full of meaning far beyond our ability to comprehend. Jesus Words from the cross give real meaning to, The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

When Jesus was on the cross, we know of seven things He said. The first is, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

Most of us read over that quickly and think of how nice Jesus was. It’s so much deeper. Jesus never said a word that wasn’t full of truth.

Think about it. God became a man.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

John 1:1


The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. 

John 1:14a

When we read the words of Jesus, we are hearing the voice of God. How foolish when we don’t study every word that came from His mouth and ask God to help us understand. 

When Jesus prayed for the people who were killing Him–and enjoying every second of it–I’ve always wondered why Jesus said, “They don’t know what they are doing.” They DID know what they were doing. They obviously didn’t know they were killing God, but they knew they were killing an innocent man.

The religious leaders held court at night instead of the day. They had false witnesses come forth. They were eaten up with jealousy. They hated Jesus for no reason. He was the only human who ever lived all the way to death and never sinned. Religious people hated Him because His goodness shined the Light on their hypocrisy. Mean people will always hate true (God) goodness.

True goodness never comes from people, it comes from people who are full of God. 

Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.

Luke 18:19b

The religious leaders thought (truly thought) they were doing the right thing in killing Jesus. Most of them had the Bible memorized (at least the first five books). Scripture was written on their foreheads and wrists in little boxes called phylacteries. Yet, when the Word they memorized appeared in human form, they hated and killed Him. 


The answer is in Jesus’ prayer for them. They didn’t know what they were doing. Jealousy, pride, and power had become their drug of choice and they were junkies to it.

Before we judge them too harshly, we need to look at ourselves. How many of us want to be number one? How many want to run the show? How many of us don’t like it when someone else gets the attention?

“There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.

The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit.”

That raises a terrible question. How is it that people who are quite obviously eaten up with Pride can say they believe in God and appear to themselves very religious? I am afraid it means they are worshiping an imaginary God. They theoretically admit themselves to be nothing in the presence of this phantom God, but are really all the time imagining how He approves of them and thinks them far better than ordinary people: that is, they pay a pennyworth of imaginary humility to Him and get out of it a pound’s worth of Pride towards their fellow-men. I suppose it was of those people Christ was thinking when He said that some would preach about Him and cast out devils in His name, only to be told at the end of the world that He had never known them. And any of us may at any moment be in this death-trap. Luckily, we have a test. Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good—above all, that we are better than someone else—I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether.

~C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)

Pride, arrogance, and jealousy blinded the people who wanted Jesus crucified to what they were actually doing. If they had known who Jesus was and what He came for, they would not have done it. He could pray that prayer and it could be true because even though they knew they were killing an innocent man, they had convinced themselves they were doing the right thing (We are all crazy).

This is the mental picture I get from Jesus’ prayer.

I see Adolf Hitler. He is the very image of evil for most people since WWII. He was into the occult. He was insecure and full of horrible pride. He was part of the killing of at least 6 million Jews (11 million people total). He was cruel beyond our wildest dreams and he thought he was doing a good thing

Does anyone believe when He stands before the throne of God for judgment at the end of time he will say to himself and God, “That was a great idea. I’m so glad I used my life to murder all those people and terrorize everyone around me. I’m so glad I let people worship me, I definitely deserved it.”

No! He is going to bow his knees and confess Jesus Christ as Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:11)

I don’t believe a single person will be forced to do that. We will want to because when we see Jesus in all His glory, worship will happen. 

If He didn’t hide himself behind creation (creation shows us who God is without Him actually showing us His glory full on), every human would worship Him spontaneously. We wouldn’t be able to help it.

Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior.

Isaiah 45:15

If we knew God the Father, Jesus the Son, and had any fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we would be full of humility, love, and would see ourselves as we are…dust. 

None of us would talk about other people or even judge them.

We would be thrilled that we have been chosen by God and adopted into His family. Our desire would be to tell others they can be adopted too. Our dominant emotions would be love and gratefulness.

We only destroy others and ourselves because we do not know what we are doing. No human, created in the image of God, would choose to destroy others and exalt ourselves if we knew the Truth. 

We would spend our lives doing one thing…getting to know our Creator.

If we knew we came into this world with nothing and we will leave with nothing, would we spend our days killing ourselves for a paycheck and going into debt for more clothes, cars, and a bigger house?

No, we wouldn’t. Forgive us, Father, we don’t know what we are doing.

If we knew Jesus prayed for unity among His children right before He hung naked on a cross would we bite and devour each other?

No, we wouldn’t. Forgive us, Father, we don’t know what we are doing.

If we knew we were worth a Son to God, would we walk in pride and arrogance, pointing fingers at others and justifying ourselves?

No, we wouldn’t. Forgive us, Father, we don’t know what we are doing.

I have become a lot less judgmental toward others and myself. Why? Because I don’t know what I’m doing much of the time. Jesus intercedes for His children at this moment at the right hand of God. How many times has He had to say about me, “Father, forgive Terri, she has no idea what she is doing. If she did, she would be worshiping and loving, not doing that. Help her to see the truth.”

I’m grateful He has brought this prayer to life for me. It has changed everything. It is helping me to stop lusting for vindication. It has caused me to cry out for mercy for others.

Why? Because I need that same mercy…and so do you.

Father, forgive us, we don’t know what we do. I can always pray that, knowing it’s the truth. When we act in ways opposite of Jesus, I know we truly do not know what we are doing or we would stop.

Maybe our prayers will be the reason someone will come to their senses.

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